Breaking Down the Fourth Wall

A few quick things before I get back into posting about things like the Kinsey Scale and To Catch a Predator.

My sister told me about Kiva a few weeks ago, and since she's down with all the hip non-profits I figured it was worth a look. Basically, you donate money to some Third World entrepreneur and they use your money for a year, buying chickens or a fishing pole or rice. The question that everyone always asks of charities is "How do I know the money gets to them?" Well I looked that up and apparently a writer for the NY Times went to Afghanistan to find the retailer he had donated to. And lo and behold, the guy was there!

Your money isn't even a donation, it's just a loan, which intrigued me. I wondered what the repay rate was. Surprisingly, it's 100%! The way they handle this is they enlist reputable credit agencies in the developing countries. These credit agencies do charge a small fee to loan your money, but from what I can tell it's manageable. I emphasize this point because anyone who has read about the WTO or the World Bank knows that they don't exactly give developing countries a way out of poverty- they just sort of use the countries for their resources to fuel (no pun intended) the big economies.

So if you want to donate, but you're a born skeptic like me, check out Kiva. And for those of you who say that I'm a tightwad.. well you're right. But I did donate, and if you're interested in who I donated to, check out my donor page. And yes I know I need a picture that doesn't make me look like a jerk- I'm working on it. I invested in a guy running an Internet cafe in Azerbajin and another guy repairing radios in Togo. I figured that if I were born poor in one of these countries, I'd probably be doing something like these jobs, and a loan would help me out.

Switching gears, let me admit that I think the University of California system is alright. They didn't let me into Berkeley, but I got into UCLA. Even though I chose not to pay an arm and a leg to go there, I can do one better now and actually attend Berkeley. How? Well, being progressive Berkeley knows that it can help the world by giving away some free education without sacrificing the prestige of a diploma from them. At this page you can find video podcasts of many of their classes. I haven't explored it too much, but I'll let everyone know how my UC education is going years down the road.

NOTE: Also, I'm going to make some color changes on here, and change the links, etc. If you see something broken (for awhile), then let me know, I probably messed it up.

No comments: